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November 15, 2012

Hoops Gameday: Nebraska vs. Valparaiso

Nebraska Cornhuskers

vs. Valparaiso Crusaders
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network / RADIO: IMG Husker Sports Radio Network

Valparaiso Crusaders (2-0, 0-0 Horizon League)
Streak: Won 2
Last Game: Defeated Northern Illinois 69-46
G Eric Buggs (had 7 assists and 2 steals in win over Northern Illinois) Sr. 5-11 155
G Will Bogan (averaging 4.5 points and 2.0 assists this season) Sr. 6-1 170
G Ben Boggs (scoring 9.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game) Sr. 6-4 195
F Ryan Broekhoff (2011 Horizon League Player of the Year) Sr. 6-7 215
F Kevin Van Wijk (averaged 14.1 ppg on 61.7% shooting last season) Sr. 6-8 230

Nebraska CornhuskersNebraska Cornhuskers (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Streak: Won 1
Last Game: Defeated Southern University 66-55
G Benny Parker (only the 10th NU freshman to start a season opener since 1995) Fr. 5-9 164
G Ray Gallegos (scored a career-high 16 points in win over Southern) Jr. 6-2 181
G Dylan Talley (had 17 points and seven rebounds against Southern) Sr. 6-5 216
F Brandon Ubel (set career highs 21 points and 12 rebounds versus SU) Sr. 6-10 234
C Andre Almeida (put up just 2 points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes vs. Southern ) Sr. 6-11 314

Defend the 3

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles has been clear that one of his team's biggest weaknesses so far has been its 3-point defense. This couldn't be more of a red flag than it will be tonight going up against a Valparaiso that comes into the game shooting 54 percent from beyond the arc. The Crusaders have shot 13-of-24 from long range in each of their first two games, paced by 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff, who's 6-of-11 from 3.
Limit the runs

Because of Valparaiso's dependency on the 3-pointer, it tends to thrive on big runs that spark when seemingly every player on the team gets hot. Given that Nebraska continues to deal with prolonged scoring droughts again this season, it has to do everything it can to keep the Crusaders from breaking the game open with a series of unanswered 3s. Along with that, the Huskers have to find enough consistency on offense to keep pace with the high-powered Valpo shooters.
Own the paint

Looking over a few of the game previews done by Valparaiso media, there seems to be a general concern over how the Crusaders will handle Nebraska's size in the post. It may seem odd that someone would peg the Huskers' post game as one of their biggest threats, but they have a point. After seeing Brandon Ubel's performance in the second half of the opener against Southern, he showed he can be a force near the basket when he puts his mind to it. Getting him and Andre Almeida established from the beginning will be huge for NU's chances tonight.

Head coach Tim Miles on Nebraska's play offensively so far:

"We are challenged offensively. That is loud and clear. We have to do a better job of handling pressure. Right now, it's going to be hard for us to beat a good team."
Senior forward Brandon Ubel on his expectations for himself this season:

"We've got to have guys step up and score, and I think I'm one of those guys that needs to do that. I need to be around 17, 18 a game; eight or nine rebounds a game plus. If we want to be successful, I feel like that's what I need to do."

Valparaiso 71-65

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